Sunday, January 20, 2008

My Sauce Recipe

I bring to you yet another recipe that I have never “officially” written down but have made for more than 20 years now, my sauce recipe. Over the years I have had many people ask me for this recipe. My usual reply was, “come make it with me”. Watch me and learn, cause I never write anything down, I just wing it as I go along. I have given it out in sketchy details, but I have never really sat down and gone step by step with it until now. One thing that surprises a lot of people is that I make my sauce in the crock pot. It’s easy and I can leave it on low for hours and not have to worry about it.

My sauce is fairly thick. It's not overly thick, it's just not a thin sauce. I don’t like thin sauce. Some people do. If you want really thin sauce, don’t use this recipe.

When my garden is booming and fresh tomatoes are available, of course I use fresh. The difference in taste is noticeable. When it is the middle of winter and you have no other choice, use canned. My preferred is Muir Glen, but any brand will do.

Lisa’s Sauce
2 large onions - chopped
Olive oil
Garlic (lots of it)
Bay leaves
Italian seasoning
3 – 28oz can crushed tomatoes
2 – 3 6oz cans tomato paste

In a large skillet heat enough olive oil just to cover the bottom of the pan. When it’s good and hot throw in your onions and give the pan a good pinch of salt. Cook the onions until they are soft and translucent. When they are almost done, rough chop about 6 cloves of garlic. Don’t mince them fine, leave then in pretty good hunks. Add them to the pan and let them cook for about a minute with the onions. Turn heat off and set aside.

Now get your crock pot out and open up 3 can of the crushed tomatoes. As I empty each can, I rinse it out with a little bit of water that I throw back into the crock pot. You don’t want to add a lot of water back in, just enough to rinse the sauce away from the side of the can. Empty 3 cans of paste and add. I don’t rinse these. Throw in a few bay leaves, some fresh basil if you have it, if not dried it fine. I use fresh herbs whenever possible, but sometimes you just can’t get fresh, especially here in the winter. Grab a good tablespoon full of dried Italian seasoning and rub it between the palms of your hands and put that in the pot. This helps release some of the essential oils, and will add more flavor to your sauce. Now grab the pan of onions and garlic and add those in. I let this cook on low in the crock pot all day. You could cook it on high if you are in a hurry, but I would still let it cook a minimum of 4 hrs.

Things I add in from time to time:

Most times I will cook up some spare ribs, or pork chops, or a cheap cut of steak and add that in. Really any meat will do. I always cook the meat about ½ way through before I add it. When I made sauce Friday, I added pork ribs that I got on sale for 99 cents a pound. They fell apart in the sauce and were so tender they melted in your mouth.

Sometimes I will grab a stick of pepperoni and chop it into big pieces and throw it in.

A few times I have thrown in a can of cream of mushroom soup. It really thickens up the sauce and gives it a great flavor.

Experiment with what you like and make it your own. This recipe makes a lot of sauce but you can freeze what you don’t use then just defrost it and re-heat.

As my Dad always says “Mangi Mangi” (Eat, eat!).
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